November 27, 2022

U.S. Veterans

U.S.A Veterans News, Support & Information | Veterans Watch

VA Benefits | Help & Protection During Natural Disaster | theSITREP

3 min read

In this episode of theSITREP, Paul provides an essential resource for Veterans, dependents, survivors and caregivers who have experienced a natural disaster. Whether you are receiving VA disability, a VA pension, utilizing VA education, VA home loan, or insurance, VA is here to help you and protect your benefits. Contact us 24/7 at 1-800-MyVA411 for assistance. For additional information, visit https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USVA/bulletins/32f03a8

As a VA beneficiary, you should be aware of assistance available to you because of a natural disaster. This includes protections for your school attendance, VA home loan, VA payments, and insurance.

School Attendance

If your school is, or was, temporarily closed due to the recent hurricanes in Florida, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will consider your attendance as continuous, and your benefits will not be affected. (1) Students using Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill) or Chapter 35 (Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program): As long as the enrollment was submitted prior to the recent tornados, no further action is necessary to continue to receive benefits. (2) Students Using Chapter 30 or 1606 (Montgomery GI Bill) should continue to verify their attendance until further notice as if the school did not close. Doing so will ensure that benefits are not affected. Students may verify their attendance, using the WAVE website or by calling 1-877-VACERT. (3) Students using Chapter 33 who are currently required to verify enrollment (students attend Non-College Degrees (NCD) programs in receipt of Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) or kickers should likewise continue to verify their attendance until further notice as if the school did not close to ensure that benefits are not affected. (4) Please contact our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits. If you’re unable to contact us by phone, you can send us a secure inquiry through Ask VA. (5) If your school remains open, but you are unable to attend (i.e., if you had to relocate as a result of the natural disaster), VA is unable to continue GI Bill benefit payments. When you are no longer pursuing classes, your school must report the termination to VA as soon as possible.
Loan Guaranty Program

VA provides information online about policy and procedures regarding natural disasters related to VA-guaranteed loans found here. (1) Loan Guaranty Service will engage with every Veteran with a VA-adapted home located in the impacted disaster region to determine if the Veteran sustained property damage and provide further assistance in rebuilding. (2) Mortgage servicers can extend forbearance and other mortgage options to Veterans with VA-guaranteed loans in the affected disaster areas, whose ability to repay their loans has been impacted directly or indirectly by the disaster.

Benefit Payments

If a Veteran or beneficiary does not/cannot receive a benefits payment due to the effects of the natural disaster and indicates financial hardship, the contact center agents must request a one-time special payment address where a replacement payment can be sent.

This can be a Direct Deposit account (into which VA can issue an electronic funds transfer (EFT) / direct deposit payment) or a mailing address out of the area impacted by the tornadoes (to ensure the check can be delivered). Affected ZIP codes where post offices are closed can be found at this link, the USPS updates this information routinely.

If a bank account is provided, include the routing number, account number, type of account (checking or savings), name of bank and name of individual on the account (the beneficiary or otherwise).

VBA can issue a same-day EFT payment to affected Veterans. To do this, the Veteran needs to enroll in Direct Deposit.

If a Veteran does not have a bank account into which they can receive direct deposit, VA has established the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) to give Veterans and beneficiaries access to military-friendly banks and credit unions they might not otherwise be able to access due to lack of awareness, individual credit history, and / or legal history. Veterans can find more information about VBBP here.

If Veterans call us, they can change their address or switch to direct deposit over the phone.

Insurance

VA provides assistance to help ease the hardships of those affected. VA offers Instant Loan Approval online and expedited same day processing for policy loans when Veterans contact the Call Center at 1-800-669-8477 or OSGLI at 1-800-419-1473.

#theSITREP #VetResources #hurricaneian

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